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Flying Fish Eggs

If you’re a fan of sushi, you’ve almost certainly come across flying fish eggs — also known as tobiko. They’re the orange roe commonly used as a garnish on maki sushi (AKA sushi rolls), offering a vivid visual alongside the green and white of seaweed and rice. Chefs will sometimes dye tobiko using other ingredients like squid ink to achieve a particular color. Thus you could come across black, green, or yellow flying fish roe.

Some restaurants will substitute tobiko with masago, which is the slightly smaller capelin roe, because it’s cheaper and looks similar.

Beyond being so pleasant to the eye, flying fish roe has a subtle but delicious flavor and texture. It’s smaller and grittier than salmon roe (called “ikura” when cured via the common Japanese method with soy sauce, dashi, and sake), so has an almost crunchy popping texture. Along with this crunch, tobiko also has a mild, slightly tangy flavor that tastes like a little dose of salt and sea.

You can find canned flying fish eggs near Uwajimaya’s seafood department.